Paris, Austin and now Brighton - the third city that HumanHuman will be venturing to all in the name of new music. With a smorgasbord of emerging talent on offer, we have selected the must-see acts at this year’s The Great Escape.
Who are they? Swedish singer Albin Lee Meldau has been making a name for himself as the writer of emotive, original folky pop songs.
Why should you see them? You’ll need very little convincing to go see Meldau once you watch a couple of his live performance videos. It’s clear he’s an old hand at playing live: full of confidence whilst drawing you in with each careworn lyric in that distinctive gravelly tone. If you want to know more about ALM before heading to the gig, our interview is a good place to start. - HT
Who are they? Signed to Mura Masa’s Anchor Point record label, twenty year-old London based singer and electronic musician Bonzai, is force to be reckoned with.
Why should you see them? If you’re looking for an absolute powerhouse, then look no further. Having released the incredible Sleepy Hungry EP earlier this year, Bonzai’s colourful production, consisting of fierce electronic-led beats and her soulful yet playful vocal delivery, will drive you into a frenzy of constant movement. - DS
Who are they? London through and through, newcomer Connie Constance’s impressive concoction of raspy vocals and sparse production is an absolute treat to the ears.
Why should you see them? Connie Constance’s voice will have you hooked from the moment you hear it. Her distinctly London-accented vocal delivery wonderfully complements the shimmering soundscapes produced by collaborator Blue Daisy. Wavy guitars, soulful inflections, poignant storytelling and gritty vocals manifest a beauty that resonates with you long after listening. - DS
Who are they? Well, that’s a very good question as no one is exactly sure. What we do know is that Dreller writes, records and produces really great songs accompanied by self-directed videos.
Why should you see them? The level of production technique and overall artistry has been very impressive so far on Dreller’s two existing releases “One Night Stand” and “Control”, so what we’d like to assume is that he’ll deliver the same standard in a live setting. However, as with so many anonymous acts what we’re really after is the unveiling of that ever so well hidden identity. - HT
Why should you see them? Drones Club have a certain enigmatic charm about them, an intrigue that the mysterious outfit have rallied from the very beginning. Sonically, their brand of slow-building cosmic pop in debut tracks “Soul of a Spaceman” and “Telescope Lover” encompasses an explosion of colourful sounds and influences. Go along to see whether these hype merchants will finally unmask themselves or not. - DS
Who are they? Self-proclaimed “sassy songstress”, North London’s GIRLI combines glitchy electronic pop with witty yet insightful songwriting.
Why should you see them? Brash and in your face, GIRLI’s music encompasses a PC-Music-esque vibe which serves as the ideal backdrop for her infectiously catchy yet more importantly, thought-provoking lyricism. Latest single “Girls Get Angry Too”, an explosion of sugary electronics, explores femininity and feminism in a playful yet clever way. GIRLI’s live shows are just as frantic. She’s been known throw tampons on stage, so watch out! - DS
Who are they? Mysterious French duo Her who’ve won fans over with seriously slick work on tracks “Quite Like” and “Five Minutes”.
Why should you see them? Aside from the fact that they’re doing three shows in one day, so there’s no excuse to miss out, we’ve also had it on very good authority that this is a must-see act. Last year, Her played an intimate gig at Silencio in Paris and our local Parisien discoverer Sodwee was there to give us the scoop: “They played a short 5/6 track set including "Quite Like", mastered to perfection here. Can't wait to see them evolve on bigger stages and in front of larger crowds. [...] Keep your eyes peeled... Five-piece on stage : Keys, drums, bass and 2 lead vocals.” - HT
Who are they? Isaac Gracie is a brand new voice on the singer-songwriter scene, who sets the bar high with his honest, lo-fi recordings.
Why should you see them? This is one artist who takes his music straight from being written in his bedroom to being performed on stage, in fact Gracie revealed in interview with NME that “I wrote [“Last Words”] the night before a gig and I was so happy with it that I played it the next day…” His love for that live sound is directly reflected in the lo-fi nature of his Songs From My Bedroom EP which adds to the refreshing appeal of this down-to-earth songwriter. Take one look at Gracie’s live session of one his his lesser known tracks “Running On Empty” and you’ll be arriving early at his set. - HT
Who are they? Oxford-formed, London-based four-piece ISLAND deliver gorgeously intricate and melodic indie pop, ready to fill arenas.
Why should you see them? Sometimes, just when you think you’ve heard it all, a band comes along and stops you right in your tracks. For us, that band is ISLAND. Having released their exceptional debut Girl EP late last year, the quartet continued to impress with the subtle yet sophisticated ballad “Spotless Mind”. Elaborate melodies, rich orchestration and a lead vocalist whose golden musings simply melt your heart are just a few of ISLAND’s many qualities. - DS
Who are they? Jadu Heart are a mysterious duo known simply as Dina and Faro, signed to Mura Masa’s AP Sound.
Why should you see them? It’s not often that an artist discovered on HumanHuman is labelled as Promising in less than a day, but that’s exactly what happened with newcomers Jadu Heart. With their debut EP offering Wanderflower, the duo transport you to a jungle of sythetic sounds where the soothing ripples of water and the sweet chirps of birds can be heard in the background. This enigmatic act have yet to reveal themselves, will this be the first appearance? - DS
Who are they? Combining dark and twisted R&B with an electronic edge, London singer and rapper Jelani Blackman is definitely one to watch.
Why should you see them? Jelani Blackman has a secret weapon, his voice. One minute, its honeyed tones warm your heart and soul to melting point, before transforming into a commanding, utterly captivating invocation of power. If that isn’t enough to win you over, the strikingly emphatic and grand soundscapes that drape songs like “Submarine” and “Repeater” surely will. - DS
Who are they? Julia Jacklin is an Australian alt-folkster originally from the Blue Mountains.
Why should you see them? Increasingly, we’re looking to Australia as a source of engaging new talent, and the country certainly delivered with Julia Jacklin. She recently made a breakthrough with swaying indie-folk single “Pool Party”; a hypnotizing track reminiscent of storytellers Angel Olsen and Courtney Barnett. With some much to come from this uniquely vocalled newcomer, this is the perfect way to hear preview of her bright future. - HT
Who are they? Danish quartet Liss create sparkling R&B tinged alternative pop.
Why should you see them? Since releasing their debut single “Try” last summer, Liss have grown from strength to strength. Signed to XL Recordings, the teenagers’ latest effort “Sorry”, lifted from their debut First EP, is an ethereal marriage of smooth and silky R&B with pop elements sprinkled in for good measure. Stunning harmonies, spiralling guitar lines and a host of magical sounds add to lead singer Søren Holm’s breathless and ever so unique vocal delivery, come together to create an entirely immersive atmosphere. It’d be a shame to miss out on one of the most exciting bands around, right? - DS
Who are they? Musician, producer and now owner of record label Anchor Point, Mura Masa is one of the most exciting British artists right now.
Why should you see them? For anyone who is familiar with my music tastes, they’ll know I’m quite a big fan of multi-instrumentalist and production posterboy Alex Crossan, and so the opportunity to seeing how tightly-knit tracks like “Lotus Eater”, “Firefly” and most recent “What If I Go?” fair in a live setting. Presumably, samples, synths and a trusty laptop will play a large part in Mura Masa’s shows, but as the clip below shows, Crossan can also turn his hand to a piano ballad when called upon. What’s more, this Guernsey-born musician is also heading up one of the festival’s Spotlight Shows. - HT
Who are they? First discovering his love for rap as a kid in Dublin, Rejjie Snow continued to hone his craft after moving to Georgia as a teenager.
Why should you see them? While The Great Escape doesn’t offer all that much for the hip-hop lover, one act to see if you’re craving a little rap is Rejjie Snow. A name that’s been floating around the underground hip-hop world for years now, he’s recently found his feet with a modern blend of hip-hop and jazz with his crisp and mellow rap flow. If you’re not familiar with his newer sound, I recommend “All Around The World” and “Keep Your Head Up”. - HT
Who are they? Juliette, Soph, Celia, Fern make up the four parts of noisy garage-rock band The Big Moon.
Why should you see them? Although still a relatively new outfit, The Big Moon have already held slots at Reading Festival and CMJ last year. Their ‘90s influenced guitar music reminds me of the increasingly popular Hinds, however the overall delivery is much more relaxed with quieter moments on laidback guitars and gentler vocals. That being said, these musicians still make one hell of a racket with fuzzy guitar screeches, half-shouted words and mosh-pit-inspiring drums. I can imagine that recent release “Cupid” would be a great set finisher, who knows they might even bring some leftover paint from the video. - HT
Who are they? Strong Asian Mothers are Kalim Patel, Amer Chanda- Patel and Josh Stadlen, a London-based electro-pop outfit.
Why should you see them? Like their TGE description states this trio have the potential to “seamlessly bridge the gap between gig and club and really bring the party” thanks to their colourful electronic beats and fondness for strobe lighting. If they can support the likes of Jungle, who are well known for their immersive live shows, then you’re guaranteed an entertaining show, especially if the band bring it with standout tracks “The More That I” and “Out Of Love”. - HT
Who are they? LA via NY electro-pop four-piece Transviolet offer anthems for the renegades at heart.
Why should you see them? Comprised of singer Sarah McTaggart and musicians Judah McCarthy, Michal Panek and Jon Garciao, Transviolet’s stadium-ready pop anthems will uplift, entice and inspire. Their infectious single “Girls Your Age” sparked a wave of praise from pop’s biggest heavyweights including Katy Perry, Harry Styles and HumanHuman favourite Lorde. Whether you’re looking for soaring pop tracks with huge chorus’ to sing along to, or just a great time, you can’t go wrong with Transviolet. - DS
Who are they? Bombay Bicycle Club bassist Ed Nash bringing dreamy, effortless pop in new solo project, Toothless.
Why should you see them? Breathy, dreamy, and even eerie at times, the debut single from Toothless, released this past year, will send chills down your spine. Eloquently titled “Terra”, the song’s endearing guitar chords and strikingly grand drums beautifully complement Nash’s majestic, almost whispered vocal. Nash will send you to a place of pure serenity (and not terror), as he embarks on his first leg of live shows with his new project, so expect to hear “Terra”, along-with brand new, yet to be released material. - DS
Who are they? Five-piece band White are energetic art-rockers from Scotland.
Why should you see them? Previously featured in our ‘Spotlight on Scotland’s Emerging Artists’ article, White have continued to peak our interest with raucous single “Living Fiction”. As someone who has seen the band perform live twice, I can confidently state that the recorded versions of their music just can’t quite capture the intense energy and theatrics of a great band who always get the room dancing and singing along. - HT